About this sample
About this sample
Words: 1183 |
6 min read
Published: Mar 18, 2021
Words: 1183|Pages: 3|6 min read
The Crucible by Arthur Miller, is a play in four acts that depicts the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. The story is about a group of young girls who accuse other women in the town of practicing witchcraft. These women were then subjected to and, in some cases, put to death as a result of the witch trials.
The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 were a dark time in American history. More than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft and 20 were killed during the investigations. The Salem Witch Trials was an episode of cases dealing with people practicing witchcraft, all of whom were brought in front of a judge in a town called Salem, Massachusetts. The trials were a part of the administration of the Massachusetts Bay Colony during the 17th century. The definitive reason for the start of the witch scare is presently unknown as is an accurate reason for the beginnings of the Salem Witch Trials, but people have ideas and theories on what may have caused the situation. Diseases and disorders that were, at the time, unknown or not yet identified like, Conversion Disorder, Epilepsy, Ergot poisoning, Encephalitis, Lyme Disease, and other conditions that cause seizures and other strange body movements or fainting, could be thought to be signs of witchcraft. Also, natural occurrences like unusually cold weather, that may cause the body to react in a certain manner or social economic hardships, that could deprive one of necessary nutrition, could cause the body to react in a strange manner may cause others to view these reactions as signs of witchcraft.
Back in the 17th century in Massachusetts, people feared that the devil was always trying to find ways to break down and destroy Christians and their communities. The Salem Witch Trials really began in February of 1692, when the sick girls accused the first three victims, Tituba, Sarah Good and Sarah Osborne, and ended in May of 1693, when the remaining victims were released from jail. Witch craft was viewed by the European people as the ultimate evil against both God and country. Those who were accused of having dealings with the devil were considered felons deserving the death penalty. The crime of being involved in witchcraft was as serious as a crime committed against the government. Some social and religious factors that made the response so harsh towards the witchcraft were that people believed that witches held the ability to hurt people. People defined witchcraft as a way to create bridges with the devil in a trade for certain powers to do evil. Also the crime was punished so harshly because it was viewed as a sin, therefore, a crime against religion because it went against God’s supremacy.
Puritans were highly religious people who had no options for religion. They all worshipped in the same faith and were guided by the strict principles of the church. Any deviation from these religious principles was a punishable offense. They feared the Devil and his control over their lives. This is another reason why witchcraft was considered such a serious crime. The idea that witches could call up the devil in any shape to preform cruel acts against others while not being identified kept them fearsome and on a constant search for signs of the Devil. The witch trials empowered individuals who were previously powerless because Salem was a strict, pecking order society. The men of the town had all the political power and their rule was reinforced not only by law but also by the supposed sanction of God. In this society, those on the lower status of the social ladder were young, busy, inquisitive, unmarried girls. Having no power in daily life, powerless woman started accusing innocent people during the witch trials, as a way to harness both power and attention. As the story continues, the claims of the girls grow causing them to accumulates more power by pretending being tormented by a soul in the court house. While the witch trials were going on, many innocent people were arrested for false accusations and some were even killed during this time.
As seen from the essay, the Salem Witch Trials left a long lasting effect on the world that still goes on till this day. One effect was the separation of families and the shortened lives of the accused victims who were killed. The ones who survived were compensated after it was all over with. The first person accused of being a witch was burned to death in 1693 after getting caught preforming vampire traits on her dying son and cursing members of the village. The case that seems the harshest was of Dorothy, who was jailed at the age of five years old and punished for witchcraft. At the 300th anniversary event in 1992 to show respect to the victims that were accused and killed a park was constructed in remembrance of the victims. The park was dedicated in Salem, Massachusetts. Later, a memorial was constructed in Danvers, Massachusetts in November 2001.
Things weren’t easy during those times of horror. People were afraid that any action on their part that might be conceived as outside the realm of normal actions would be seen as signs of participation in witchcraft. People were fighting for their lives even though they committed no crimes. Once accused of witch craft, there was no way one could prove innocence because there was no evidence of a crime. It was as if one was guilty until proven innocent. Just imagine the victims stress level and what they were going through not knowing if they were going to be jailed forever or simply be killed. Although the ones that survived those times were compensated the ones that were killed honestly didn’t get any justice. Over time, the Salem Witch Trials changed the way court procedures were followed, including rights to legal claims. Also, as a result of these trials, the term “innocent until proven guilty” came about. Even two dogs were killed during the time of the Salem trials, they were killed by hanging. The trials ended in a gruesome manner, and conflicts were at the root of the cause.
The Salem Witch Trials were the result of illogical-mass hysteria, and were induced by grudge holding people who used the trials to harm their foes. The play opened with the girls doing something considered taboo in Puritan society, dancing in the woods. The girls involved in this were Abigail Williams, Betty Parris, Mary Warren, Ruth Putnam, and a few others. Tituba, Reverend Parris’s slave from Barbados was also with them. All of the girls involved were caught by Reverend Samuel Parris, the minister of Salem. When Reverend Parris catches the girls dancing in the woods, his daughter Betty Parris becomes sick. Once again the Salem Witch Trials had many tough events that lead to the persecution of so many. The Crucible amounts to the realistic retelling of one episode in the duration of the Salem Witch Trials. The play brings to life an incident that very well may have been a part of this terrible time in American History.
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